Injury Prevention and Running With Health Concerns

Running is one of the most accessible, enjoyable forms of exercise you can participate in. Not only is it great for cardiovascular exercise and leg-strengthening (particularly if you incorporate hills or sprints into your routine), it’s also an excellent way to bolster mental health.

Running can also be a high-intensity, high-impact workout that may lead to injury. This is particularly true if you’re running long distances, you’re running on rugged terrain, or if you don't prioritize cross-training and stretching. Preventing running injuries often comes down to knowledge, self-awareness, and avoiding over-zealous training. Here’s what you need to know about preventing common running injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the most common runner’s injuries?

    The vast majority of runners’ injuries are related to overuse. Essentially, a runner places too much stress on a specific muscle group or body part based on their body’s ability to handle the stress. In other words, the level of stress (or the number of miles logged running) that causes injury in one runner may not cause injury in another due to personal differences in fitness, the type of terrain being tackled, differences in body frame or mechanics, and what other types of activities are being engaged in.

    Knee, ankle, and lower-leg injuries are the primary challenges for runners, with Achilles tendinopathy, stress fractures, medial tibial stress syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome, plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band syndrome, and ankle sprains all reported as common injuries.

  • How do you prevent injury if you run everyday?

    Given that most running injuries are related to overuse, one of the best ways to prevent running injuries (even if you run every day) is to listen to your body and rest when you’re feeling tired or sore. Prioritize rest, nutrition, stretching, and recovery. You may want to have a couple of “light days” each week when you run fewer miles, go at a slower pace, or stick to easier terrain. 

    Make sure you’re using the right running shoes for your foot type and gait, avoid logging too many miles on hard terrain like concrete or asphalt, and spend time stretching and cross-training to prevent muscle imbalances that can put unwanted stress on specific bones or joints.

  • What tools can you use to prevent running injuries?

    Stretching, massage, and cross-training are the best tools to prevent running injuries, as they help you keep a balanced musculature and an ideal range of motion for the muscles and joints used while running.

    Items like a high-quality yoga mat, a foam roller, massage balls or a massage gun, and simple strength-training tools like therabands may be helpful. You may also want to invest in a stretch strap, yoga blocks, and a yoga bolster if your lower body is particularly tight. These can help you stretch adequately without straining or experiencing unnecessary discomfort.

  • How often do you need to replace running shoes?

    A general rule of thumb is to replace running shoes about every 350 miles, but actual scientific evidence to support that number varies. Generally speaking, depending on the shoes, the materials, how you’re using them, and how they feel, you can probably get away with replacing your shoes somewhere between 250 to 400 miles.

    Or, if you’re running three miles, five times a week, that means replacing your shoes every four to 10 months. And, believe it or not, your own “comfort filter” for how your shoes feel, really may be the best barometer for assessing when a replacement is needed.

Key Terms

Page Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Messier SP, Martin DF, Mihalko SL, et al. A 2-year prospective cohort study of overuse running injuries: the runners and injury longitudinal study(Trails). Am J Sports Med. 2018;46(9):2211-2221.

  2. Kakouris N, Yener N, Fong DTP. A systematic review of running-related musculoskeletal injuries in runnersJournal of Sport and Health Science. 2021;10(5):513-522. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2021.04.001

  3. Johnson CD, Tenforde AS, Outerleys J, Reilly J, Davis IS. Impact-related ground reaction forces are more strongly associated with some running injuries than others. Am J Sports Med. 2020;48(12):3072-3080. doi:10.1177/0363546520950731

  4. Fleck SJ, Falkel JE. Value of resistance training for the reduction of sports injuries. Sports Medicine. 1986;3(1):61-68.

  5. Sulowska-Daszyk I, Skiba A. The influence of self-myofascial release on muscle flexibility in long-distance runners. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022;19(1):457.

  6. Aktug ZB. Do the exercises performed with a theraband have an effect on knee muscle strength balances? Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation. 2020;33(1):65-71.

  7. Vincent H, Vincent K. American College of Sports Medicine information on selecting running shoes. American College of Sports Medicine.

  8. Hennig EM. Eighteen years of running shoe testing in Germany – a series of biomechanical studies. Footwear Science. 2011;3(2):71-81.

  9. Nigg BM, Baltich J, Hoerzer S, Enders H. Running shoes and running injuries: mythbusting and a proposal for two new paradigms: ‘preferred movement path’ and ‘comfort filter.’ Br J Sports Med. 2015;49(20):1290-1294.

  10. Athlete’s Foot: Overview. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2018.

  11. Astur DC, Zanatta F, Arliani GG, Moraes ER, Pochini A de C, Ejnisman B. Stress fractures: definition, diagnosis and treatment. Rev Bras Ortop. 2015;51(1):3-10.